One of B.C.'s greenest parliamentarians has chosen not to put his name forward in the next federal election.
After 17 years in politics by 2019—including 10 in the House of Commons—Fin Donnelly says he's going to "spend some quality time with my family".
Donnelly, 52, is the NDP MP for Port Moody–Coquitlam.
He was on Coquitlam council for seven years before being first elected to Parliament in 2009 in a by-election in New Westminster–Coquitlam.
It was held to fill the seat vacated by former MP Dawn Black. At the time, Donnelly campaigned alongside former party leader Jack Layton.
For many years, Donnelly has served as the party's critic for fisheries, oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard.
He played a key role in the fight to restore the Kitsilano Coast Guard base, which was closed by the former Conservative government.
Donnelly also worked with the late environmental filmmaker Rob Stewart to try to ban shark finning. As part of these efforts, Donnelly introduced a private member's bill in Parliament.
In addition, Donnelly frequently spoke out in defence of wild salmon, introducing private member's bills to require closed-containment systems for salmon farms.
These bills weren't passed by the majority of MPs but he did get measures approved to outlaw the luring of children. Parliament also unanimously passed his motion calling on the federal government to recognize its sacred obligations to Canadian war veterans.
"Too often Canadians think there is little an opposition member of Parliament can do, but it is important for Canadians to know that real results can be achieved," Donnelly said in a statement. "Our work as progressives is not yet done. I have every confidence in NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and my local NDP community to carry that vision forward, and I look forward to the opportunities the future holds."
Donnelly first came to public attention with his marathon swims in the 1990s, crossing the Strait of Georgia four times.
But it was his two epic swims traversing the length of the Fraser River in 1995 and 2000 that made him a celebrity in environmental circles.
His Fraser River swims, which covered 10 biogeoclimactic zones, raised awareness of the importance of habitat protection.
“It’s certainly one of the world’s greatest salmon rivers,” Donnelly told the Straight in 2016. “It supports all five species of salmon and it’s got sturgeon, eagles, bears, and just an incredible array of animals and even plants.”
In 1996, he created the nonprofit Rivershed Society of B.C., which promotes education about the Fraser River Basin.
Its flagship Sustainable Living Leadership Program offers outdoor-education scholarships to young people. This enables them to travel by rafts and canoes from the Fraser River's headwaters to the estuary to learn more about this mighty waterway.